Search for meaning

December 01 2015

The internet gives you many lives. You can write an article once, muster the courage to post it online, become disappointed when it falls flat and goes unshared, resolve to forget about it and write something else. Then one day, you wake up to an inbox of responses and questions as if this was a piece you posted yesterday.

This sometimes happens to me.

Lately, a few of my Medium posts have undergone rebirths, and I’ve found myself answering questions about the search for meaning and joy and life. “Should I go to a monastery?” “Do I need to volunteer in a different country to find myself?” “What advice can you give me to discover my passion?”

I don’t have any answers, really. I know that the answers we often want most are right in front of us. They don’t necessarily require a trip around the world, months spent in solitude, or someone else to show us the way. I wish I could tell you a perfect formula. I wish I had this formula myself three years ago when I first set out for Nepal.

But I think that’s my big secret. I stopped looking.

I was driving myself crazy with these exact same questions. I was browsing the self-help section for career changes, dog-eared my way through What Color Is Your Parachute, and still no answers. My journal was a messy scrawl of ink and tear, I mean, coffee stains when I got on that first plane to Kathmandu. I knew was I was hurting and raw and sick of feeling like crap. I wanted to feel good, both in the world and in my body and make a positive contribution somewhere. And this is how I found myself teaching English to a bunch of rowdy monks.

No, I had no idea I was going to start a Learning House. If you told me I’d spend the next three years of my life in Nepal, I would have laughed. But I did know that giving to others and empowering individuals through education brought me deep satisfaction. In this way, my focus shifted from myself and onto something positive. I stopped questioning and just did.

Meaning found me. I hope it finds you.